The Indian Air Force (IAF), the Guardians of the Skies, celebrated its 85th Anniversary on October 8, this year. A Media visit was organised as part of Air Force Day celebrations to Air Force Station (AFS), Hakimpet. The visit aimed at sensitising and creating awareness about the role of the AFS Hakimpet in imparting training in various streams of the Air Force to the Cadets joining Air Force at the Officer level. The visit also aimed at creating awareness and encouraging the general public to join the elite forces through media.
Speaking on the occasion, Air Commodore RK Obheroi, Air Officer Commanding, AFS, Hakimpet said that it's a premier military aviation training base of the India and one of the best training establishments of Training Command. One of the oldest stations of IAF is pride of country which trains the cadets and officers of IAF & Indian Navy into fighter flying and Indian Navy & Coast Guard into the art of rotary winged flying. Keeping pace with the dynamic continuum of aviation technology, the conversion training unit of 1952 developed into the Jet training wing in 1958, the Fighter Training Wing in 1968 and finally into the present day AFS Hakimpet in 1983.
The Fighter Training Wing (FTW), previously known as the conversion training unit is the alma mater of all the fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force. In 1951 the unit was formed to groom fighter pilots to fly the spitfire and the tempest trainers. At the end of 1952 the tempests was phased out. The Vampires were inducted in 1954. Air Commodore P C Lal the then Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command, Indian Air Force inaugurated the newly constructed runway at Hakimpet by landing a Vampire aircraft. Trainees from Air Force Flying College Jodhpur arrived as Flight Cadets and on successful completion of their training were commissioned and awarded wings at this station.
The phasing out of high fidelity vampires took place in 1975. In July of the same year 12 Kiran aircraft arrived at the Station and in October the Polish Iskra were inducted. The FTW began to conduct stage IIA training on Iskra and Kiran MK II aircraft for the newly commissioned officers of the fighter stream who after the completion of their course are tasked with protecting the nations sky with the state-of-the-art fighter aircraft. The aim of the training is to teach flying a jet aircraft as a weapon platform in war. With this aim in mind the trainees are taught elementary tactical flying and basic armament. Led by their chief instructor, team of handpicked flying instructors takes great care in the development of these budding fighter pilots. Starting form 1951 till 1976 the Station had six aircraft on its inventory- Vampire, Iskra, Spitfire, Tempest, Alouette and Kiran.
A milestone in the annals of Hakimpet was the arrival of Helicopter Training School (HTS) in 1973. HTS was raised at Palam in May 1962 as Helicopter Training Unit. In 1967 it moved to Jodhpur as Helicopter Training School. This unit is the alma mater of all the helicopter pilots in Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. In the first six months the trainee pilots are taught operational flying and are prepared to operate the helicopter in all its operational roles. Initially the flying training was imparted on BELL 47G3 helicopter and subsequently on Chetak helicopters.
The HTS has been called upon to provide aid to civil authorities in times of distress and natural calamities such as flood, earthquake, drought etc., and provided much needed relief to the affected people on numerous occasions.
The station also houses Technical Type Training (TETTRA) School to provide technical type of training to the prospective Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force pilots prior to commencing their flying training. The school is equipped with state-of-the-art teaching aids ranging from working models, x-ray models of various systems; computer based simulators and cut out full-scale models of aircraft.
Air Force Station Hakimpet also houses a training facility for the training of Non-Technical Air Warriors in the Non Technical Training Institute (NTTI). The NTTI is also headed by a Chief instructor and provides training for over 200 airmen trainees in Administrative Assistant trade. The Air Force Station Hakimpet sees its inspiration in the sacrifices of its valiant air warriors and the guiding vision in "Mission Integrity and Excellence". It lives up to the motto of Indian Air Force "Nabham Sparsham Deeptam".